While some businesses can cast a wide net when they are looking for potential clients, many plaintiff law firms cast a much smaller net. They need to attract potential clients in their local areas to stay in business. These law firms need to make sure they have a solid local SEO strategy, ensuring their websites, Google Business profiles and link profiles are optimized for local searches.

Below, PMP explains the many aspects of local SEO and their importance in helping people in your local area find your law firm online. Our experienced marketing professionals have helped many law firms optimize their websites and their online presence to attract potential clients.

If you have questions about your online marketing strategies or other aspects of your marketing plan, we may be able to help. Contact us to learn more about the services.

Defining Local SEO

Local SEO refers to efforts to optimize the local features of search engine results pages, such as your Google Business profile and Google Maps. When these efforts are successful, your law firm will show up in search results with other firms in your local area.

Why Your Law Firm Needs Local SEO

Put simply, local SEO cannot be ignored by law firms. When someone gets into an accident and needs a lawyer, he or she is going to want one that is nearby. If this person searches for a law firm and does not see yours in search results for the local area, he or she will contact another law firm.

Local search results occupy important real estate in search results. While they are not at the top of the page, they are located right below pay-per-click ads and local services ads.

Some firms do not have the budget for pay-per-click advertising, and optimizing your firm for local search is cheaper than paying to serve these ads to potential clients. However, local SEO is a long-term strategy that requires a lot of monitoring and continuous optimization.

Another benefit to local SEO is that firms that show up in local search results are viewed as more trustworthy. Law firms must commit time and resources to show up in local search results. Taking these steps helps to show potential clients that you are a legitimate business in the local area.

Three Most Important Factors in Local Search

There are three factors Google uses to rank firms in local search:

  • Relevance – The relevance of the content on your website to the person who is searching.
  • Proximity – How close your business is to the person who is searching.
  • Authority – The authority of your website, which is based on the quality of the content, speed of the website and links from other websites.

Below, we discuss the steps you can take to help optimize your law firm for local searches. It is important to remember that local SEO is a long-term strategy, requiring continuous monitoring and optimization to keep your website high in local search results.

Managing Your Google Business Listing

Your Google Business listing is like an online business card. Your Google Business profile is what people should see when they look you up on Google. However, you need to make sure your profile is optimized so it will be more likely to show up in local search results.

If you do not have a Google Business profile, you need to create one. If you do, verify that the information about your firm is correct, such as:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • Web address
  • Accurate description of your business (lead attorney’s name, years of experience, practice areas, locations and recognition/awards)

Your profile should contain high-quality pictures of the office, attorneys and staff. People may be more likely to contact businesses when they can see the people who work there and what the office looks like.

These are some basic steps you can take with your Google Business profile. You can also add answers to frequently asked questions and regularly update your profile with new posts. Include photos and videos when appropriate. Taking these extra steps could help your law firm move ahead of others in local search results.

Client Reviews

Your Google Business profile will contain a link to client reviews posted online. Law firms that have more positive reviews tend to rank higher in search results. Law firms should make it easy for clients to leave reviews. After successfully resolving cases, send clients an email with a link to your Google Business profile where they can leave a review.

You also need to respond to negative reviews quickly. Providing a professional, prompt response to a negative review shows potential clients that you pay close attention to your clients. People want to work with attorneys who are responsive and answer their questions in a timely manner.

Citations and Link Building

Links help to show your website’s authority, especially when those links come from reputable, relevant sources. While websites are bound to get links over time, this is often not enough to help your law firm in search results.

This is where link-building comes in. You can write guest posts on industry websites or do interviews for these sites to get links from high-value websites.

Local citations are another vital aspect of local SEO. A citation is the basic information about your business (address, name, phone number, website). You can get these citations added to relevant websites like Avvo.com, FindLaw and Yelp. When there are numerous websites with your business information, it sends a signal to Google about the relevance of your business to local searchers.

Optimizing Your Website

As you might expect, one component of local SEO is optimizing your website. You need to make sure your site loads quickly, especially on mobile devices. You also need to make sure the technical SEO on your site is in good order. For example, you need to fix broken links and make sure the site has a user-friendly structure that is easy to navigate.

Website optimization should include relevant keywords you want to rank for. These keyword should appear in page titles and other website content, especially blog content.

Locally Focused Blog Content

Blogs can provide answers to commonly asked questions about the types of cases your firm handles or even the legal process. Potential clients often have questions about how much it costs to hire a lawyer. Your blog content can help to answer these and other questions.

Your blogs should target locally relevant keywords as well. For example, you can write blogs that include your city in the meta title and the body of the content. Use keyword research tools to find keywords being targeted by other law firms in your local area. You can then write content focused on those keywords.

Regularly producing this type of content should be an integral part of your local SEO strategy.

PMP has been helping law firms across North America rank higher in local search for more than 15 years. If you are looking to move up in search results or need help with other aspects of digital or traditional marketing, contact us to learn how we may be able to help you.